Eric Suher is a Friend Again

It’s Sunday morning, and I’m typing at Rao’s Coffee a big coffeehouse in Amherst. I am seeing how these guys do it, so I can bring back some wisdom to my own little cafe. Last night I spoke cordially with an old nemesis: it felt great to be back in touch with Eric Suher, for whom I worked for five years selling shirts at ES Sports.

I left that job in 2002, and jumped to a rival company, Bolduc’s and sold the same products to a lot of the same customers. And for four years we never spoke, nor crossed paths. Eric is a powerful guy, the owner of dozens of buildings in Northampton, and the entrepreneur behind the Iron Horse, the Calvin Theater, and Pearl Street. He is well-known as a hardworking man who has been largely responsible for Northampton’s growth as an arts town. I saw Eric outside during my friend Joe’s gig, he was playing the Basement with Treefort. I steeled up my nerve and went out to shake his hand. He looked me in the eye, with that famous penetrating eye contact, and we caught up with each other, and there was nothing but good feelings. Gone was any resentment over my leaving, there was just interest in my new cafe, and my website work. He shared some of his love for this small club ‘my favorite of all my venues’ and laughed about how there is no sign above the door.

He spoke about his Baptist church in Northampton’s center, how it will become a banquet hall, and he spoke about how the press tried to hachet him over the slow pace of renovations. It was good, really good, to speak with this dynamic man, and after four years, be friends again.